Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is gravely concerned about the escalating violence in Côte d’Ivoire, which since late last year has forced over 70,000 people to flee the country. He has called on all parties to end the violence immediately.
In this connection he issued today (7 March) the following statement:
“I am extremely concerned about the violence in Côte d’Ivoire and the plight of the tens of thousands forced to flee their homes.
There is a risk of civil war as well as a refugee crisis that would have major repercussions across the entire region.
We call on Laurent Gbagbo to halt all violence forthwith and to hand over power immediately to the rightful elected President, Alassane Ouattara.
I call on all sides to act responsibly and with restraint.”
The High-Level Panel tasked by the African Union with mediating in the conflict will reconvene shortly to discuss ways to resolve the problem. According to its mandate, it is due to submit a proposal for settling the conflict to the African Union’s Peace and Security Council by the end of this month. The Federal Foreign Office’s Director-General for African Affairs was most recently in Abidjan, the capital of Côte d’Ivoire, for talks on 9 February.